The City Seminar emerged out a series of projects in collective learning and scholarship to become a blend of teaching and learning structures and approaches from the classroom, the conference, the writing workshop, and the reading group. It is currently motivated by three core ideas. First, that philosophical inquiry is essentially a collaborative enterprise. Second, that rigorous study can, and perhaps must, be accomplished outside of the institutional framework of the university. Third, that in both an historical and structural sense, the city is a place that fosters free thought and the growth of culture through the encounter of diverse peoples, spaces, and ideas.